Nevada investigators review complaints from football fans

Saturday, February 10th 2007, 6:55 pm
By: News On 6

LAS VEGAS (AP) _ State investigators are looking into complaints that a sports travel firm has swindled football fans out of thousands of dollars in plane tickets, hotel reservations and football tickets to Saturday's NFL Pro Bowl game in Honolulu.

Sharon Jackson, deputy chief investigator for the state consumer affairs division, said Friday her office has received several complaints that Las Vegas-based CEI Sports Tours sold packaged tours to the game but did not notify consumers that the tours had been canceled and did not refund money.

Some fans didn't learn of the cancellations until they arrived at McCarran International Airport, the Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Saturday.

``We're moving forward aggressively with the investigation,'' Jackson said. Both the company and its owner, Mitch Chirchick, are subjects of the investigation.

Chirchick couldn't be reached for comment Saturday. No representatives for CEI Sports Tours answered the phones at their local office.

Scores of Denver police, firefighters and their family members were among those who were left out of luck.

About 70 people in the Denver area paid CEI Sports Tours for the package deal.

``We're cops,'' Denver police officer Dan McNulty told KCNC-TV. ``We're investigators, and we got duped.''

McNulty's wife said the family paid $619 per person for a week in Hawaii and even verified that the travel company had reserved the rooms.

The family traveled to Las Vegas to meet Chirchick and arranged for him to come to Colorado last month to assure everyone involved the trip was on track.

Others say they paid up to $1,000 each for a package that included game tickets.

Then, hours before departure, McNulty said it all fell apart. McNulty said Chirchick told him the money was gone and there would be no trip.